The Buffalo Bandits enter this weekend’s game with Rochester with a truly unique opportunity in front of them. They can not only clinch a playoff spot, but also lock down the first overall pick in the 2012 NLL Entry Draft. Thus is life in a nine-team league, I suppose.
Obviously the Bandits will need some help if they are to achieve this feat. First, the easy part. The Bandits can clinch the playoffs if they beat Washington next weekend at home. Plain and simple, just win your game. However, the Bandits could also clinch with a win tomorrow and a loss by either Washington or Rochester in the next week.
The Bandits are currently flirting with missing out on the final playoff spot due to the swing rule that has been instituted this season. If the worst team in the East finished below the worst team in the West, the West team will play in the playoffs. Right now Washington and Buffalo are in a bit of a dog fight.
Despite some of the questions surrounding Buffalo’s post season future, they even have a shot at the East Division crown. This is more or less because of the parity in the East versus the success the Bandits have had. However, if they win out and both Toronto and Philadelphia lose out, Buffalo will win the East.
What is more realistic is simply clinching a playoff spot. A home playoff game is possible if the Bandits win out and the Rock lose out. Getting any home game certainly seems unlikely at this point. Stealing the first overall pick is also terribly complicated. From the Bandits:
Win over Rochester tomorrow AND a Toronto loss to Washington tonight AND a Buffalo loss to Washington on April 28 AND three Edmonton losses.
It is sort of like the jail scene in Ghostbusters when Egon and Ray explain the metal work in Dana Barrett’s apartment. I never studied.
What Bandits fans need to know is that the team has underachieved far too often this season, but are still in the hunt to host a playoff game. They just need to win their games. Little attention should be paid to anything other than the Bandits’ score, because winning out will get the Bandits into the playoffs.
There have been far too many disappointing losses this season for a team that is far too talented to be 5-9 entering their final two contests. Last week’s defeat at the hands of Edmonton is particularly souring considering the Rush is quickly becoming the annual doormat out west.
Having the opportunity to control their own destiny is a luxury the Bandits should feel lucky to have. The battle now will be to simply win their games. Of course, if they do so, there is the outside chance of being a playoff contender with the first overall selection.